Chaka becomes first Black female official in NFL history

Maia Chaka has been added to the NFL roster of game officials for the 2021 season, the league announced on Friday.

Chaka makes history as the first Black woman ever named to the NFL’s officiating staff.

“I am honored to be selected as an NFL official,” Chaka said via a statement from the NFL. “But this moment is bigger than a personal accomplishment. I​t is an accomplishment for all women, my community, and my culture.”​

Chaka enters the NFL after an outstanding collegiate officiating career, including stints in the Pac-12 Conference and Conference USA.

In 2014, Chaka was selected for the NFL’s Officiating Development Program, which identifies top collegiate officiating talent to expose them to some of the same experiences as NFL officials, working to determine if they have the ability to succeed as an NFL official.

“Maia’s years of hard work, dedication and perseverance – including as part of the NFL Officiating Development Program – have earned her a position as an NFL official,” said TROY VINCENT, SR., NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations. “As we celebrate Women’s History Month, Maia is a trailblazer as the first Black female official and inspires us toward normalizing women on the football field.”

Chaka is a health and physical education teacher in the Virginia Beach public school system and a graduate of Norfolk State University.

Giants release Tate, Mayo

The Giants have released wide receiver Golden Tate III and linebacker David Mayo, the team announced on Thursday.

Tate, 32, played the past two of his 11 NFL seasons with the Giants. He joined the team as a free agent back in 2019 after signing a four-year, $36 million deal. Before joining the Giants, Tate played for the Seahawks, Lions, and Eagles. 

In 23 games(14 starts) with the Giants, Tate caught 84 passes for 1,064 yards (12.7-yard avg.) and eight touchdowns.

Last season, Tate played in 12 games with four starts. He was inactive for the season opener vs. Pittsburgh (hamstring) at Washington on Nov. 8 (coach’s decision) and the season’s final two games (calf injury). Tate caught 35 passes for 388 yards and two touchdowns. 

Mayo, 27, joined the Giants six days before the start of the 2019 season and played in 27 games with 15 starts in two seasons. His totals included 100 tackles (62 solo), including 2.5 sacks, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery.

In 2020, the six-year veteran tore the meniscus in his left knee, underwent surgery, and spent the season’s first five weeks on injured reserve. He played in each of the final 11 games, starting two, and led the Giants with nine special teams tackles (six solo). He had 20 tackles (12 solo) on defense, including two for loss and forced one fumble.

Mayo debuted with the Giants the previous season, when he played in all 16 games, including starts in each of the last 13. He tied for second on the team with a career-best 80 tackles (50 solo), including his first two career sacks.

Before joining the Giants, Mayo played four seasons for the Carolina Panthers and was in training camp in 2019 with the San Francisco 49ers.

Vikings’ Zimmer: ‘Kyle(Rudolph) has been a leader and mentor for us on and off the field from the first day I arrived in Minnesota’

The Minnesota Vikings have terminated the contract of TE Kyle Rudolph, the team announced on Tuesday.

The 10-year veteran, who spent his whole career in Minnesota, was scheduled to make $9.4 million in 2021. The two-time Pro Bowler signed a four-year, $36 million contract extension with Minnesota back in 2019. 

According to the NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, Rudolph‘s release saves Minnesota a little over $5 million in cap space and $8M in cash in 2021.

Last season, Rudolph, 31, was not used much in the passing game for Minnesota. In 12 games, he had 28 receptions for 334 yards and a career-low one touchdown catch. Rudolph was placed on injured reserve by the Vikings on December 29th with a foot injury.

Vikings GM Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer issued the following statements on Rudolph:

Vikings General Manger Rick Spielman:

“From the moment we drafted Kyle as a young man out of Notre Dame in 2011, through his 10th season with the Vikings in 2020, he has been one of the premier tight ends in the NFL and most influential and positive leaders I’ve ever been around. Kyle and Jordan have made such an immeasurable impact on our team and community that may never be matched. The energy they have invested in the community, most notably through the End Zone at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, is truly remarkable. I admire Kyle and we will miss him and his family. We sincerely wish them the best.”

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer:

“Kyle has been a leader and mentor for us on and off the field from the first day I arrived in Minnesota. He has been such an important part of this team and community throughout his career and it has been an honor to coach him the last seven seasons. He will be missed, and we wish him and his family nothing but the best.”

Jags go back to teal-colored jerseys for home games

The Jaguars have officially switched their primary home color from black to teal, the team announced today. Beginning with the 2021 season, the Jaguars will go back to their roots and don teal jerseys for nearly every home game.

“We’ve heard the fans loud and clear,” Head Equipment Manager Jimmy Luck said.  “As the only team in the NFL that wears teal, we know what this color means to our organization, the 904 and our entire fanbase. Teal inspires great memories of some of our franchise’s greatest moments.  Making the switch to teal as our primary uniform color allows us to celebrate that history while kicking off a new era of Jaguars football.”

The team made the switch official at 11 a.m. today with the debut of a new hype video created by Jaguars Productions featuring DE Josh Allen. In four games played in teal jerseys, Allen has totaled 6.0 sacks, including two multi-sack games while wearing teal jerseys.

Please click here to view the video.

The Jaguars have officially worn teal jerseys 114 times and accumulated a 64-50 record in those games, including a 60-42 record in home contests. They donned the teal jerseys for the first time on Sept. 24, 1995 against the Green Bay Packers and earned their first victory in teal on Oct. 22, 1995 at Cleveland.

See below for some of the most memorable teal moments in franchise history:

  • The Jaguars wore teal jerseys and white pants in their 62-7 victory against Miami in the 1999 postseason on January 15, 2000. RB Fred Taylor ran for a franchise-long 90-yard TD while Jacksonville’s 62 points still serve as a franchise high.

  • OL Tony Boselli matched up with Dolphins DE Jason Taylor and held Taylor without a sack in Jacksonville’s 28-21 victory against the Dolphins on Oct. 12, 1998. The team donned teal jerseys and white pants and WR Keenan McCardell caught a 56-yard game-winning TD.

  • The Jaguars secured their first playoff appearance while wearing teal jerseys and white pants on Dec. 22, 1996 in a 19-17 victory against the Falcons. After Jacksonville took a 19-17 lead, Atlanta drove to the Jaguars 30-yard line before K Morten Anderson’s field goal sailed wide right and led to a Jaguars victory.

  • Jacksonville wore teal on white in the team’s first ever Monday Night Football Game on Sept. 22, 1997 against the Steelers. With the Jaguars holding a 23-21 lead, DE Clyde Simmons blocked Steelers K Norm Johnson’s 40-yard field goal attempt on the game’s last play and Hudson returned the block 58 yards for a touchdown.

  • Jacksonville wore teal uniforms and white pants on Sept. 18, 2006, shutting out the Steelers on Monday Night Football, 9-0. CB Rashean Mathis intercepted Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger twice while K Josh Scobee connected on three second-half field goals.

  • The Jaguars wore teal jerseys and black pants in 2019 on Thursday Night Football defeating the Tennessee Titans, 20-7. WR DJ Chark Jr. caught a 22-yard TD reception while K Josh Lambo connected on two field goals and DE Josh Allen posted 2.0 sacks in his first game wearing teal.

Buccaneers’ owner: ‘Vincent(Jackson) was a dedicated father, husband, businessman and philanthropist’

Former Chargers and Buccaneers WR Vincent Jackson was found dead in a hotel in Brandon, Florida, on Monday. He was 38. 

According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Jackson, who is a South Tampa resident, checked into the Homewood Suites on January 11, 2021, and had been staying in a room since that date.

On February 10, members of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office spoke with Jackson’s family members, who called to report that he was missing. A formal report was filed on February 11. The following day, February 12, HCSO located Jackson at the Homewood Suites and spoke with him. After assessing Jackson’s well-being, the missing persons case was canceled.

Jackson was located deceased at approximately 11:30 a.m. on February 15 in his hotel room by a housekeeper. There are no apparent signs of trauma and an investigation into Jackson’s death is on-going.

In 12 NFL seasons, with the Chargers and Buccaneers, Jackson finished his career with 540 receptions with 9080 yards and 57 receiving touchdowns. The three-time Pro Bowler ended his career with the Buccaneers after the 2016 season. He officially retired in 2018.

On Monday, Buccaneers owner Bryan Glazer released the following statement:

We are shocked and saddened to hear the terrible news regarding the loss of Vincent Jackson. During his five seasons with our franchise, Vincent was a consummate professional, who took a great deal of pride in his performance on and off the football field. Vincent was a dedicated father, husband, businessman and philanthropist, who made a deep impact on our community through his unyielding advocacy for military families, supported by the Jackson in Action 83 Foundation. He was a three-time Pro Bowl selection for his accomplishments on the field, but his greatest achievements as a Buccaneer were the four consecutive nominations he earned as our Walter Payton Man of the Year. Our deepest condolences go out to his wife, Lindsey, and the entire Jackson family.”      

Our thoughts and prayer go out to the family of Vincent Jackson.

Jaguars’ Chris Doyle resigns on Friday

Jacksonville Jaguars new director of sports performance Chris Doyle resigned, the team announced on Friday night. 

“Chris Doyle came to us this evening to submit his resignation, and we have accepted,” Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer and GM Trent Baalke said in a joint statement on Friday night. “Chris did not want to be a distraction to what we are building in Jacksonville. We are responsible for all aspects of our program and, in retrospect, should have given greater consideration to how his appointment may have affected all involved. We wish him the best as he moves forward in his career.”

On Thursday, the Jaguars introduced their new coaching staff, which included Doyle.

The 52-year-old Doyle served as the head strength and conditioning coach for the University of Iowa football program from 1999-2020. Doyle was placed on administrative leave by the university after being accused by a few Iowa players of making racist remarks and bullying. Doyle was eventually let go by Iowa last June and received $1.1 million from the university

“I’ve known Chris(Doyle) for close to 20 years,” Meyer said Thursday. “Our relationship goes back to when I was at Utah and he was the number one strength coach. Really, he was doing sports performance before sports performance became a high priority in college sports. I’ve known him. I’ve studied him. We’ve had a relationship. I vetted him thoroughly along with our general manager [Trent Baalke] and owner [Shad Khan]. [We] feel great about the hire, about his expertise at that position. We vetted him thoroughly.”

The hiring of Doyle was a mistake by Jacksonville, especially when you consider how many minority candidates are struggling to find opportunities around the league. Doyle would have been a distraction this season for Jacksonville, so his decision to resign was the best move for all parties involved.

Watch as Meyer explains why he hired Doyle:

Buccaneers announce limited edition commemorative wine

In honor of the team’s second world championship, Buccaneers fans will have the opportunity to celebrate the team’s unforgettable 2020 season with the launch of “Championship Red,” a limited-edition Central Coast Cabernet Sauvignon and Monterey Merlot handcrafted reserve. This blend has been aged for 15 months in a combination of French and American Oak barrels. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Mano’s Wine have come together to partner on this distinctive “taste of victory” that will serve as the perfect collectable for any fan. A “Championship Bubbly,” will also be available for purchase.

Each officially licensed bottle of wine is deep etched and hand-painted by skilled artisans to create a true work of art that will last a lifetime.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Chief Operating Officer Brian Ford said: “We are proud to commemorate our magical journey to our second world championship with our partners at Mano’s Wine. Championship Red and Championship Bubbly are exceptional wines that will come in premium collectible bottles that our fans will want to keep as mementos of a season unlike any other in our history.”

As an urban winery, Mano’s Wine features an esteemed collection of wine makers who have been carefully selected from the best vineyards from around the world. Everything is shipped to Mano’s national headquarters, where they blend, age, finish and handcraft each bottle. This process allows the winery to carefully select the best climate and growing conditions, ensuring the highest quality wines year after year.

“We are extremely excited to work with such a great organization and one of the most passionate fan bases in the NFL,” said Kyle Rensenhouse, Mano’s Wine owner. “This was an unforgettable season for the Buccaneers and we are ecstatic to be a part of this historic celebration.”

“Championship Red” and “Championship Bubbly” can be purchased online at www.ManosWine.com and coming soon to Fine Wine and Good Spirits, Grocery Stores, and local wine retailers in the Tampa  area.

Chiefs’ Tyrann Mathieu on altercation with Brady: ‘I never really saw that side of Tom Brady’

The “Honey Badger” woke up an old grizzly bear, and the old grizzly bear reacted. In the second quarter of Super Bowl 55, which the Buccaneers won 31-9, Chiefs S Tyrann Mathieu and Tom Brady got into it. The two players were jawing back and forth, and ultimately, Mathieu was flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. 

After the game, Mathieu had this to say about the incident.

“Listen, Tom Brady’s a great quarterback,” he said. “I never really saw that side of Tom Brady, to be honest. But whatever, no comment. It’s over with; I’m done with it.”

Later, Mathieu said this in a since-deleted tweet about the altercation with Brady:

“He called me something I won’t repeat, but yeah, I’ll let all the media throw me under the bus as if I did something or said something to him. Go back to my previous games against TB12; I showed him nothing but respect. Look at my interviews about him. I show grace.”

According to ESPN, Brady has since apologized to Mathieu via text and hopes to apologize to Mathieu in person sometime in the future.

It was some good smack between Brady and Mathieu, but in the end, Brady and the Buccaneers get the trophy!

Watch as Mathieu talks altercation with Brady:

An emotional Antonio Brown reacts to winning Super Bowl 55

Antonio Brown is a champion. Brown won his first Super Bowl title after the Buccaneers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 in Super Bowl 55 at Raymond James Stadium.

Brown contributed to his first Super Bowl victory by catching five passes for 22 yards and a touchdown.

The 32-year-old Brown, who was suspended eight games for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, was signed by Tampa Bay back in October. Brown played in one game in 2019 after being released by the Raiders and PatrIots.

“Being out for a year without football made me appreciate it more,” Brown said after the game. “I’m just grateful to be at this point right here and to finally be a champion.”

Brown, who caught 45 passes for 483 yards and four touchdowns this season, can become a free agent but expressed a desire to return to Tampa Bay. 

If he can stay out of trouble, Brown can help the Buccaneers or any team going forward.

Watch as Brown reacts to winning Super Bowl 55:

 

Tom Brady wins fifth Super Bowl MVP

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady was voted the winner of the Pete Rozelle Trophy awarded to the Super Bowl LV Most Valuable Player.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 to win the franchise’s second Super Bowl. 

This marks the fifth time Brady has won the award, having previously been voted the Most Valuable Player in Super Bowls LI, XLIX, XXXVIII, and XXXVI. Brady is the only player in NFL history to win the award five times.

Brady has won seven Super Bowls, the most by a player in NFL history, and joins Pro Football Hall of Famer Peyton Manning as the only starting quarterbacks to win Super Bowls with multiple franchises. Brady is now 7-3 all time in the Super Bowl.

Brady has now thrown for three-or-more touchdowns in a Super Bowl four times. Three of his touchdowns came in the opening half vs. Kansas City, marking the second time he has had three touchdown passes in a single half of a Super Bowl. He became the only player to have three-or-more touchdown passes in a half multiple times in Super Bowl history. Brady’s 12 postseason games with three-or-more touchdown passes are the most in NFL history.

The 21-year veteran completed 21 of 29 attempts (72.4 percent) for 201 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions for a 125.8 passer rating. He also extended his Super Bowl records for the most career completions (277), passing yards (3,039), and passing touchdowns (21).